A local economist has welcomed Government’s call on farmers and other traders to consider exporting maize if they did not find market locally. Chibamba Kanyama observed that the opening of the market for maize export by Government was the best decision that could be made this time around.

Mr. Kanyama told ZANIS in Lusaka on Saturday that since Zambia still has maize stocks from last year’s harvest that could last up to the end of 2010, it was only fair to allow maize farmers and other traders to export their crop.

He was commenting on the decision by Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives, Peter Daka, to allow farmers to export their surplus maize. Mr. Kanyama pointed out that allowing farmers to export their maize would enable commercial farmers to recover what they spent to produce the crop.

“The only appropriate measure is for Government to lift the ban on export to allow for a fair price for the commercial farmers so that they can recoup their cost and make reasonable returns,” he said.

He explained that the K65, 000 which was set by the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) as the maize floor price for the 2010 marketing season was not cost efficient to the commercial farmers. Mr. Kanyama said selling a 50 kilogramme bag of maize at K65, 000 would only be profitable to small scale farmers that received farming inputs from the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP), which were heavily subsidised by Government.

“The only farmers that can sell at that price is the subsidized farmers and peasant farmers because they do not compute capital cost, they do not compute labour cost and also they do not compute energy cost,” he said. Mr. Kanyama added that to small scale farmers and peasant farmers, the K65, 000 per 50 kg bag of maize was a break even price.

He however feared that setting a floor price which is not cost efficient to commercial farmers could disturb maize production in the future. “So to small scale farmers, K65,000 is a breakeven price but for the commercial farmer, that is where we have a problem because they can easily switch to alternative crops and this has the potential of dampening the production in 2011,” he explained.

On Vice President George Kunda’s assurance to farmers that Government will buy all their excess maize, Mr. Kanyama said the FRA should now embark on educating farmers about this position because they might not be patient enough to wait for the agency.

He said the Food Reserve Agency should be given enough money to buy the maize on cash basis to deliver farmers from the temptation of selling their crops to ‘cash but exploitative’ buyers. “The only way to minimise exploitation of farmers is for FRA to go flat-out to buy the crop within 90 days,” he said.

Meanwhile, FRA Acting Spokesperson, Phillip Kabwe disclosed to ZANIS in Lusaka today that the agency has since started purchasing maize from farmers in Kabompo district in North Western Province. The crop marketing season was opened on 1st May 2010 following President Rupiah Banda’s directive to open the season early.

This year, Zambia has recorded the highest maize production in the history of the country at 2.79 million metric tonnes, against the national consumption of about 1.3 million metric tonnes per annum. This year’s bumper harvest represents 48 per cent increase in production compared to last year’s.

ZANIS

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14 COMMENTS

  1. “The only way to minimise exploitation of farmers is for FRA to go flat-out to buy the crop within 90 days,” he said……viva another 90 days! :)):)):)):))

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  2. Is this Chibamba Kanyama making any sense at all? He yeps like an aimless character; one who lucks substance and just talks because he wants to be heard. Has he really got an economics degree???

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  3. ” “The only farmers that can sell at that price is the subsidized farmers and peasant farmers because they do not compute capital cost, they do not compute labour cost and also they do not compute energy cost,” he said. ”

    Does he mean that their families work for free? Is he saying that ‘peasant farmers’ have no input costs? And therefore large commercial farmers should be allowed to export their maize?

    ” “The only way to minimise exploitation of farmers is for FRA to go flat-out to buy the crop within 90 days,” he said. ”

    How about allowing the districts to buy maize, whenever the farmers make their crop available? How about cash on delivery?

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  4. True above. What really got me thinking is how much maize a farmer who has no capital cost,and labour cost can produce at all! Are’nt such farmers more likely to keep the little they grow for themselves??

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  5. WHY NOT DONATE SOME OF IT TO ZIMBABWE LIKE LAST TIME SINCE THEY DID NOT HAVE A GOOD HARVEST?

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  6. Please excuse my ignorance but who does Chibamba work for or is he a “freelance” economist? Secondly why does he only propose short term solutions?

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  7. This is very disappointing coming from Chibamba. Lets take a look at the recent history when it comes to weather. Zimbabwe Kenya and some African countries in the region had very good rainfall not too long ago. Now they have droughts. Instead of selling this surplus maize, why can’t FRA buy this maize and make sure that we have enough reserves to last over five years. If our neighbors are experiencing droughts now, you know some day Zambia will. Economists, lets not think about today or tomorrow. Lets plan for where we want Zambia to be in 10 or 20 yrs from now. Aren’t you tired of handouts because of poor planning? I’m.

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  8. Chibamba Kanyama is journalist who did economics as a minor at UNZA. I don’t think it’s right to call him an economist. It’s right to call him a journalist because that’s what he obtained at UNZA. The own is fond of being in the spotlight right back from the time he was at ZNBC. Don’t take his contributions seriously. If he is a serious economist, ask him how many journals or papers he has written that are internationally recognised. He just speaks to remain in the lime light.

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  9. #8 DANIEL, with respect to you,do you also write on this column to be on the spotlight. I don’t think so.Chibamba speaks on issues that interest him. You don’t need to be an economist to know that too much maize to the equivalence of 3 million metric tons in the country will automatically low the price of maize in the country. Remember the principle 0f demand and supply.And economics simply means how we create and distribute our country’s resources,and maize is a resource. can
    chibamba fail to comment on that surely.My grandmother was a very good economics.she knew how to preserve food that we never went hungry the whole time she lived with me. But she only went to the universty of SOCIETY.

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  10. I suspect Kulima Tower Kabu whatever is a personal foe of Chibamba’s. Why does he keep raising the issue of degrees? Which professional do you ask for degrees when they give an opinion? Lets not drag this into “Is Chibamba an economist or not?” Go and ask him after all you live in Lusaka. Just criticise what he is saying otherwise keep your mouth shut.

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  11. #3: I agree with you. Every time somebody says “the only…,” my flag flips up. Allowing our inability to see beyond the tip of our noses is one cause of our self confining thinking. There multiple solutions to any given problem. Helping farmers around the country to get organized in such a way that they can have bargaining power at the point of sell now that they are allowed to sell to any market of their choice is one such solution.

    And indeed why not CASH ONLY DELIVERY?

    You would be hard pressed find a politician holding office who would hold off payment of their remuneration for 90 days. Why should unjustifiable delay of payment to farmers be acceptable?

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  12. unsolicited advice and incorrect.
    very soon there wont be enough because we oversold. let food reserve be responsible for buying and exporting any surplus if they no what surplus there will be.

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  13. Chinyama studied Economics at UNZA a few years ago and has since been yapping Economics 101 theories on every matter imaginable . . .. .as you can imagine, all he says is basic, myopic concepts.

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  14. Typical Africans, always looking at bringing each other down instead of forwarding your own arguments for the good of the country. Zambians, get serious and make your own contributions instead of looking at who contributed to an opinion. All perceptions are true and therefore give us your views on the way forward.
    What is the real issue at stake here is what needs to be addressed!!

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